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Midway Fire Rescue uses thermal imaging to rescue kayakers

Two kayakers stuck near Oyster Shell Landing by Huntingon Beach were rescued Saturday night by Midway Fire Resuce, according to a post on the department's website. Fire officials used thermal imaging to locate the kayakers because it was getting dark and the kayaker who called didn't know their exact location. (Photo used with permission of Midway Fire)

Two kayakers stuck near Oyster Shell Landing by Huntingon Beach were rescued Saturday night by Midway Fire Resuce, according to a post on the department's website.

Fire officials used thermal imaging to locate the kayakers because it was getting dark and the kayaker who called didn't know their exact location.

Multiple crews along with the Department of Natural Resources and the United States Coast Guard were called out to the scene, according to the post.

Below is how the rescue was performed according to the post:

"After about 20 minutes, the subjects were located in the area of the Huntington Beach State Park near the Causeway by Huntington Beach State Park Rangers. All units responded to the area including Rescue 816 for lighting and the director of Georgetown County Emergency Management for the use of a drone with thermal imaging. The crews located the exact location and formulated a plan to place two paddle board rescuers into the water to meet up with the kayakers to escort them out of the marsh. As the tide was rising, the crews made it quickly to the victims and escorted them out of the water. Medic 815 met with the kayakers once they were brought to the shore, finding only minor injuries from oryster cuts and bruises. The crews worked quickly and efficiently to make a successful rescue of the kayakers and escorting them to safety."

Chief Doug Eggiman, with Midway Fire, said he is thankful that the Emergency Management team had the drone with the thermal imaging camera.

"Drones are becoming very important for public safety because there are tremendous benefits to using them," he said. "The drone itself has been a huge help and we have used it many times during the day, but now with the thermal imaging, it opens up a whole new realm for ways to help and ways to improve what we do, especially with night operations."

Eggiman said they plan on using the drone and the thermal imaging camera for many of their operations including missing people, woods fires and possibly even structure fires.

The camera was paid for by a grant, he added.

The department posted this video showing how they used the thermal imaging camera to find the kayakers.



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